Author Archive for Caroline Cameron – Page 5

Wouldn’t You Love an Extra Pair of Hands?

Less stress, more timean easy way to lower stress, reclaim your time and do more of what you love

Are you frantically juggling the many things you have to do, often wishing, “If only I had more time…?”  Now there’s a way and all you have to do is pick up the phone to make it happen.

I recently caught up with Abbie Allen, the founder of ifestyle Elements, a personal and corporate concierge service.  Abbie set up her company 8 years ago to provide practical support and relief for busy people juggling the everyday challenges of managing work and life.  With my passion for helping busy people thrive on the 21st century treadmill I wanted to know more.

Imagine having your very own personal assistant for life

A personal concierge can take care of all those tasks on your to-do list so you can focus on what’s most important to you.  For example:

  • Would you rather be at work or having to take a precious annual leave day to wait for the phone company?  A personal concierge will wait for the phone company and arrange all the details for you!
  • Would you rather be taking your kids to the zoo or dragging them to the supermarket? A personal concierge will trawl the supermarket aisles and pop into the baker and fruit & veg shop before delivering and unpacking it all for you!
  • Would you rather spend your lunch break catching up with a friend or researching the purchase of a new fridge? A personal concierge will not only research different fridge options for you and provide you with a detailed report, they can then arrange the purchase, delivery and removal of your old fridge.

Wow, imagine the relief of having your concierge take care of those tasks you’re dreading asking your mum, dad or a friend to help out with …  just this once, pleeease!

No job too big, small or unusual – all you have to do is ‘just ask’

Where in the past you may have employed a cleaner, gardener or babysitter, a personal concierge can take care of organising these and many other tasks and services for you.   Whether it’s grocery shopping, laundry pick up & delivery, pet care, home care when you’re away or general errand running, no request is too big, small or bizarre!

To discover the extent of what a personal concierge will do, I asked Abbie about the most ‘unusual request’ she’s received.  “I always find this a challenging question as it’s rare that we are surprised or stumped!” Some of the more unusual requests (all in a day’s work for Lifestyle Elements), include:

  • Arranging the delivery of turf lawn to a client’s children’s primary school
  • Organising a security guard for a 21st birthday party (a common request)
  • Delivering a bunch of flowers at the last minute on a Sunday evening in Adelaide for a client who was in the United States
  • Coordinating emergency carpet cleaning after a client’s garage was flooded
  • Taking a dog to the airport for an interstate flight.

Personal Concierge – a luxury or a necessity?

Far from being a luxury, clients who use Lifestyle Elements services see it as a life saver for managing their busy lives – a service they can’t live without. Abbie’s clients invest in her service because it improves the quality of their life, their family’s life, or their employees’ lives.

Many people actually save or earn more when they employ a personal concierge.  For example, a personal concierge will thoroughly research and shop for products helping their clients get better value and avoid ‘impulse buying’ because they simply don’t have time to shop around. By outsourcing many of the time consuming but necessary tasks to a personal concierge you free up considerable time, become more productive at work and potentially earn more.

More importantly, when you’re doing better things with your time – being with your family and friends, doing something you love, the value is priceless.  Add your hourly rate to the cost of each routine but necessary task you’re currently doing to see what it’s really costing you.

Help for anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Not just for the rich and famous, a personal concierge provides a lifeline for just about anyone including executive couples, working families, single parents, business owners, family carers or people who travel a lot for work.  Lifestyle Element’s services are also offered through corporate programs to reduce stress and pressure and make life easier for employees.

Based in Adelaide, Lifestyle Elements work for clients all over the world.  They offer many of their services via phone and internet and are well connected to a global network of concierge providers who provide ‘on the ground’ services. Lifestyle Elements also offer gift vouchers, which is a wonderful way to help out a new mum, someone recovering from an illness or even a welcome birthday gift for a busy friend.

What to look for when you’re engaging a personal concierge.

Although Abbie welcomes enquiries from anyone, anywhere, she’s provided the following tips to find a safe, reliable and professional concierge service in your local area:

  1. Make sure they have relevant security checks, such as a police check.
  2. Ensure they hold relevant insurance such as public liability, professional indemnity and/or relevant motor vehicle insurance if they will be driving your vehicle
  3. Can they provide recommendations from clients?
  4. Are they flexible and willing to meet your needs?
  5. Do you and your family feel comfortable with them? Do they make an effort to get to know you? Do they like animals?
  6. Will you be able to communicate effectively with them to ensure your to-do list gets done?

So how does Abbie think this type of service is likely to change in the future?  “A personal concierge service will be used by households almost as much as a cleaner or gardener – an integral part of our everyday lives. I can’t see that life will slow down or the demands on our time will lessen. However, the way we spend time will greatly improve as more people experience personal concierge services.”

One of the keys to successfully redesigning your life is to build a great support team.  If ‘too busy’ has become a way of being for you, invite a personal concierge to become your extra pair of hands.

Carpe Diem

Caroline Cameron

 

 

PS.  I'm not an affiliate of Lifestyle Elements and receive no payment for this endorsement. I approached Abbie for this blog because I think the personal concierge service is a great idea for busy people.

Abbie Allen founded Lifestyle Elements, a personal concierge service, in 2003 when she saw an ever increasing need to provide a practical service to support our busy lives. From errand running and pet care to travel bookings and event management, Lifestyle Elements is a modern response to the dilemma of not having enough time in the day. Abbie also delivers speeches and workshops in the areas of Work Life Balance, Time Management and Women in Business.

Slaying the Fear Dragon – how to stop fear dead in its tracks!

Slaying the Fear DragonFEAR – it’s the #1 blocker that stops us from creating change and achieving our potential. The mere mention of it strikes dread in our heartsand has us running in the opposite direction of our dreams and goals. Common fear feeders such as public speaking, risk taking, festering work conflict, phobias, worries and change we feel is being imposed on us can create terror in the most courageous of us all.

Yesterday I had a call from Jane, a smart, goal-oriented professional and mother of two. She has a high powered, fulfilling yet all-consuming job and is the main bread winner for her family. At 42 Jane wants to start her own home-based business. She’d love be more involved in the daily lives of her children and reduce the stress of constantly juggling work, family and life. She’s dreamt of starting her business for over 5 years and has great ideas about what it could do. With great business experience, commercial acumen, vision and drive there’s really nothing to stop her. Or is there…?

What’s really getting in her way is fear. Fear of failure (not an option for an otherwise successful high achiever), fear of it creating even more stress, fear of the unknown and fear that it wouldn’t bring in enough money quickly enough. I know what it’s like. When I left my safe, secure job with its regular pay cheque to set up my own business, I felt like I’d jumped out of a plane without a parachute! Without the familiar routine, support of work colleagues and no guarantee it would work, I was terrified. For the first few months I was free falling. Yet once my well laid plans kicked in and the business took off, I discovered how to pull the rip-chord which had been there all along.

If fear is the only thing standing between you and embracing a workplace change or pursuing a long-held dream (life redesign), relax and read on.

5 simple steps to slay the fear dragon, live your dream and sleep well at night.

#1. Name your fear

Fear is your body’s alert system that tells you something’s not right. However, it’s not fear itself that’s the problem. Identify what it is you’re scared of or worried about and give it a name. Better still, create a funny picture in your mind that represents your fear. You can even give it a silly voice (eg Donald Duck)! This helps you acknowledge the fear without engaging it.

#2. Cut your fear down to size

Pull out your sword and put it into perspective. In the same way that nightmares seem more scary in the dead of night, repressed fears have a tendency to multiply and expand to disastrous and catastrophic proportions. What’s the worst thing that will happen if this fear were to come true? Maybe it’s not as bad as you’ve been dreading.

#3. Plan B – your secret weapon

What would you do if the ‘worse’ thing were to happen? Committing to the action you would take is like taking out an insurance policy or applying a 5 star safety rating. It won’t make it happen but will ensure you’re well prepared if it did. Chapter 13 of The Great Life Redesign shares simple ways to create a Plan B.

#4 Outsmart the fear

Ask yourself a better question – if this fear wasn’t there what would be possible? What if it does work out just fine? The grass is always greener on the optimistic side. Shifting your focus to fearless possibilities will set you up divert your focus, thoughts, energy and action into making them real instead of indulging in fear.

#5 Be vigilant

You may have slayed the fear dragon this time but it can and will come back! Recognise it early and take action quickly. Ask yourself, ‘what’s this fear trying to tell me and what can I do to tame it right now?’ Remember you are always bigger than your fears and slaying them is within your power. Keep these Fear Dragon Slaying Steps in your Thrival Kit, call on your inner resources (courage, perspective, calm and foresight) to help out and you’ll never face a fear you can’t overcome. What fears have you overcome and how did you do it?

Carpe diem

Caroline Cameron

 

 

How to Make Redundancy the Best Thing Ever!

how to turn redundancy into your best opportunity yet

How to make redundancy the best thing that ever happened to you

“You’re kidding,” I hear you say. You’d seen it coming for months, it was only a matter of time. When you’re sitting in front of your boss hearing the words, “I’m sorry, we have to let you go,” the reality is you’ve been sacked and lost your job.

Everything familiar has just evaporated – security, certainty, self confidence, your work, your work friends and the regular pay packet have all evaporated.

Before you sink into the depths of despair, fear and self-doubt, press pause….

As you move past the shock and potential anger, you’re actually at a crossroads with two choices:

  • Be a Victim – allow your self-confidence to nose-dive; hang onto anger and fear and wait for your next job to find you. Often at the mercy of outplacement or recruitment agencies, you wait for the phone to ring and eventually can’t even be bothered getting out of bed in the morning.

or ….

  • Reinvent Yourself!  What if this was the best thing that ever happened to you? Rather than being the end of the world, maybe this is the start of your real life, where you are the master of your own destiny.  How about standing out from the crowd and using it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be who you really are and do what you’ve always dreamt of doing?

Redundancy provides space to take stock of what’s important, identify how you want to live and work and go for it! Even if your redundancy package was less than generous, there are many ways to redesign your life,  do what you want, where you want and love it.

Still not sure?  Before you put a tentative toe in the life redesign water, consider the realities:

Redundancy Realities

1. You are now competing for a shrinking number of jobs against many others who have also been made redundant.

2. Even if you are lucky enough to get another job quickly, there are no guarantees of job security in the current economic climate – you could be made redundant again.

3. To get more work quickly, many fear driven people take the first job that comes along, without considering it carefully.  While it may provide a regular pay packet, the new job could be worse than the one you’ve just left and you’re trapped. Better to have a lousy job than no job at all, right? Wrong!

Once the first 6 weeks of a new job have passed, you’re often left with that sinking feeling that you’ve jumped out of the frying pan into the fire. Now you’re really stuck doing something you simply don’t enjoy.

4. Redundancy no longer has a negative stigma.  It happens to the best people in many professions and is often outside your control.  If it isn’t a problem for you, it won’t be for potential future employers.  In fact many of my clients have successfully negotiated a redundancy to create the financial means and time required for a complete career change.

How to Get Back on Track and Find a Job You Love

Before you join the ever-increasing queue frantically updating your CV, shooting off hundreds of futile emails to recruiters, networking old contacts or surfing Seek and CareerOne, take a few moments to ask yourself:

1. What am I passionate about – what’s important and what do I truly care about?

2. If money wasn’t an issue and I had no fear, what would I really love to do?

3. What would that give me that I don’t have today?

4. What skills, talents and knowledge do I have that I could use and develop?

5. What skills, experience and knowledge would I need for my ideal career?

6. Given the choice of where and how would I like to live, what would I choose?

7. What would it take to turn the possibility into a reality?

The prospect of redesigning your career and life may feel concurrently exciting and daunting.  If so, feel the fear, take a deep breath and grab that pink slip!

Life’s too short to be stuck in a rut and there’s never been a better time to take the plunge into doing something you’ll love.

If you’ve been made redundant and converted it into the best thing that ever happened to you, I’d love to hear your experience.  Please share your story and tips in a comment below.

Carpe diem

Caroline Cameron

 

 

What do You Want to BE When You Grow Up?

a question for all adults and how to make the answer easy

What do you want to BE when you grow up?

If you ask any child under 10 what they want to be when they grow up, chances are you’ll get a quick, enthusiastic and certain answer.

When you put the same question to grown-ups, the answers are often vague and vexed.

Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost our ability to connect with what we really want to do. Fulfilment seems hader to find. Fear replaces courage and indecision leads us on a never-ending quest to find the ‘right’ job.

When I became a management consultant many years ago, I thought it would be the perfect way to find my dream job. Working with many different organisations would give me a ‘sneak peak’ into a wide variety of careers. I fully expected to walk into a company, see someone doing something I’d love and ‘bingo’ – there’s my answer!

The reality was very different. While I did get to check out many different jobs, industries and organisations, I mostly saw people who were struggling to find their ‘perfect’ job, just like me. Many had fallen into roles opportunistically, being in the right place at the right time, rather than consciously deciding that this was what they really wanted to do.

Fast forward 5 years and I’m now being paid to do something I love but it didn’t happen until I worked out how to find my dream job. If this sounds like you, take heart!

How to find work that feeds your soul and puts a roof over your head

1. Go back to your childhood!

Mining your past for vital clues is a great way to spark your imagination. What did you love doing as a child when anything was possible? Recapture your childhood dreams and notice what it was about each one that excited you.

When you were a kid (before reality set in), limitations were few which created the freedom to be whatever you dreamt.  Notice how you focused on what you wanted to ‘be‘ rather than ‘do’.  Hmmm, there’s another clue.

2. Stock take your career and life so far

Looking back over everything you’ve done, list the achievements and tasks you’ve really enjoyed. Even the less fulfilling experiences will provide clues about what you could and should be doing. Now write down everything you haven’t necessarily enjoyed and quite frankly, never want to do again. What was it about the positive experiences that ticked all your boxes and the negatives that left you cold?

3. What are you good at?

Inevitably, what you’re good at is probably what you enjoy most. Over the years you’ll have gained skills and knowledge that have led you to become an accomplished expert in one field or another. Even if this type of work has past its expiry date, the strengths you’ve gained in this area can be converted into transferable skills.

4. Know what difference you want to make

There’s a reason we’ve all been put on this earth and now’s the time to reveal your overall purpose. Far bigger than a single job or career, this shapes who you are in all the life roles you play. What problems do you like to solve and what really matters most to you?

Often this is more closely related to what you care about, than what you do for work. Knowing it consciously will give you far greater choice and help you make clear decisions about where to from here.

5. Get curious and explore all the options

Many of today’s jobs weren’t even invented 5 years ago and the path to fulfilling work starts with curiosity. Your answers to the previous questions will have revealed some key themes.

  • What do your childhood dreams, career and life so far, strengths and your purpose all have in common?
  • What do they reveal about you?

Once you’ve identified these themes, start researching what’s possible.

Now you’re consciously aware of what you want to be and therefore do, career magnets (ie those roles, industries and organisations that tick your boxes) will jump out at you. Keep and open mind, imagine and explore what a ‘day in the life of…’ would be like?

The key to finding fulfilling work is to ask the right questions. Rather than saying, “I couldn’t do that because…”, ask yourself, “If this were possible, how could I make it happen?”

6.Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway

Once you’ve decided which direction you’ll take, develop a plan to bridge the gap and commit to one small step at a time. The transition to your new career will take as long as it needs to and gaining the support of family, friends and mentors will help convert your possibility into a reality.

What would a day in your perfect job look like?  Life’s too short to not be doing what you love. Blow away the excuses and discover what you should be doing, now you’re ‘grown up’!

Carpe diem

Caroline

 

 

3 Simple Ways to Swap Stress and Burnout for Freedom and Wellbeing

Loving life on the 21st century treadmill

Stressed and Busy PeopleWith the rapid introduction of mobile devices, labour-saving widgets and instant access to anything, anywhere, anytime we should be happy, right?

Wrong! As a professional coach, I work with many senior executives, managers, project teams, small business owners, entrepreneurs, stay-home mums and families. No matter where I go, they all have one thing in common – they’re all frantically busy and stressed.

Juggling challenging jobs, raising children, caring for aging parents, paying off hefty mortgages and more, the lines between work and life have become increasingly blurred. Contactable and on-call 24/7, the relentless pressures and demands are taking their toll.

Overlay an endless media stream of bad news stories, natural disasters and economic doom and gloom and it’s no wonder that life on the 21st Century treadmill is wearing us down.

Yet, ironically, there’s also never been a better time to create the kind of lifestyle you actually want. We’ve never had more opportunities, options and choices which is why now is the best time to redesign your life.

Hmmm, easier said than done’, I hear you say, and I understand. Flat out surviving, let alone thriving, many people simply don’t know what changes to make or how to make them to live the life they dream of. Fortunately we have more control and choice over our lives than we may think.

Here are three simple strategies to help you get started:

#1. Identify what needs to change.

Imagine your life is a house with different but connected rooms – health, relationships, career, finances etc. Take out a notepad and go for an imaginary walk through your life house, noting what parts could do with a fresh coat of paint. Identify what’s working and what’s not and jot down how you’d like each room to look.

#2. Start small and commit to action every day.

Often the smallest changes will make the biggest difference and it’s smart to start in a room that’s relatively easy to renovate. For example, if your fitness and wellbeing have been on the backburner, commit to a daily 20 minute walk and build up to regular gym sessions or whatever exercise you enjoy.

#3. Create space – decide what you’re going to ‘stop’ doing.

The hectic pace of life often leads us to unconsciously add more to every day until there are simply no hours left. Stacking your days with frantic activity is the fastest track to burnout and stress. Go through each room again and make a decision about what you’ll reduce, delegate to others or simply stop. Notice the relief and freedom that comes from removing the clutter. This creates space to focus on what’s really important.

There’ll be more simple ways to swap stress, overwhelm and burnout for freedom, choice and wellbeing in future posts.

In the meantime, what strategies do you have for making positive life changes easy? Please share them below – I’d love to hear your top tips.

Carpe diem.
Caroline

 

Be Careful What You Wish For

What’s your job really costing you and is it worth it?

Work Trap37 year old Mary had everything she could wish for or… did she?

Always ambitious, she’d finally scored her dream job heading up a $75m, international project for a construction company. The luring package included a generous, multiple six-figure salary, all expenses paid business class travel, ipad, iphone and a number of other glittering perks.

But it came at a cost.

Whilst taking a short break with her family over Christmas, her days were constantly interrupted by streams of urgent phone calls from her manager, anywhere between 7am and 10pm. Emails couldn’t wait so she logged on down at the beach while her beautiful, eight year old daughter Ellie played in the waves and built sandcastles on her own. Her demanding client didn’t ‘get’ the time zone difference and the sound of incoming text messages echoed through the darkness while her family slept on.

Yes, she could have turned the phone off and refused to log in – after all, she was on annual leave. However, Mary’s company had an unwritten rule and unspoken expectation that senior executives would be on call and contactable 24/7. Besides she didn’t want to let her client, manager or team down and was committed to being ‘on top of it all’.

Her husband Dave was resigned to but unhappy about the constant interruptions and their arguments were becoming more frequent. Even when she was with her family, she wasn’t really. Totally conflicted, by the time she returned to work Mary was stressed and exhausted.  If nothing changes, she’ll pay the ultimate price losing her health, closest relationships and happiness.

It seems as though we’ve spent the last 10 years striving to become more efficient, mobile, contactable and indispensable – but at what cost? Latest figures from the Race Against Time Report, (National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling and AMP Financial Services) show that balancing work and family remains a big issue for working men and women, with around 40% of women and 30% of men feeling often or always rushed or pressed for time. Worse still, you probably won’t be paid or adequately compensated for ‘out of hours’ work.

It’s your life – hop into the driver’s seat and take control

If Mary’s story sounds familiar to you or someone you’re close to, maybe it’s time to take stock. Ask yourself:

  • What are the real expectations of the job (rather than the assumptions)?
  • What price am I really paying and is it worth it?
  • What am I prepared to do to get the job done and have a life?
  • What boundaries do I need to keep my job in perspective and priorities in focus?
  • Who can I call on to share the workload and how else could we get the job done?

Set up a meeting with your manager and team, go prepared with creative solutions and be open to new ways of working. Remember, your colleagues have a life outside work too. While work demands are ever-increasing, the pressure on companies to reduce stress and foster wellbeing is growing too. But the ultimate responsibility for yours rests with you.

Get clear about what’s important, decide what you are prepared to do (or not) and take deliberate action to make it happen.

Life’s short – it’s time to get moving and create the life you really wish for.

Carpe diem.

Caroline

 

 

If you’re wanting simple ways to reclaim your life, my new book, The Great Life Redesign will show you how.  It’s now available in all good bookstores and here.

An Easy Alternative to New Year’s Resolutions that Actually Works

a better way to achieve your goals –

New Year’s Resolutions – we all make them. Yet by mid-January many have fallen by the wayside and by the end of June we can barely remember what they were. So, what’s wrong with them and why don’t they work?

The whole logic behind New Year’s Resolutions as a way to create change is seriously flawed. Think about it….

New Year’s Day is just another day

New Year’s Day is actually no different from its 363 brothers and sisters across the year. Sure it marks the start of a new year but, so what? There’s no reason why you can’t resolve to achieve a goal or make a change on any other day of the year. In fact other days may be far better for starting a new challenge.

New Year’s Resolutions often lack the ‘how’

In the excitement leading up to New Year’s Eve, we often decide that next year will be different. Maybe you’re thinking you’ll lose 10kg, stop drinking on Wednesdays or make sure you leave work on time. Noble as these are, they’re often based on a wish that’s rarely underpinned by a solid plan to achieve them. Without a plan, a wish is like a pack of cards that collapses with the first gust of wind.

Going it Alone is tough

If you’ve ever tried to achieve a goal all by yourself, you’ll know how hard it is. We mistakenly believe that if we achieve it on our own, the satisfaction will be even greater. Yet, on your own, your noble endeavour soon becomes a struggle and it’s easier to give it away than ask for help. Besides, if you haven’t told anyone about it, you haven’t lost anything if you fail, right?

How to Set Yourself up for Success

Before your shoulders drop and you sigh with despair, here are three simple ways to create positive change and pull of the seemingly impossible this year:

#1. Free the goal from New Year and do it at the best time for you

New Year may not be the optimal time for you to embark on a challenging goal. For example, if losing 10kg is your goal, starting your diet and exercise plan during the holiday season may be setting you up for failure. Goals are easiest to achieve when your motivation is high and saboteurs (eg summer holiday partying) are low.

If the thought of going out in shorts with those 10 extra kilos is scariest right after winter, aim to get your wellbeing plan started in spring. By the time New Year comes around, you’ll be well underway, your commitment is established and the extra daylight hours will help you step up your exercise plan.

#2. Set SMART goals and work out a detailed ‘how’ plan

Converting a wish into a Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-framed goal instantly increases your chances of success. Link it to ‘why’ (the benefit and positive outcome of achieving the goal) and develop a ‘how’ plan. This should include what you’ll actually do by when and what resources you’ll need. Identify everything you can that will make it easier and put the plan up on the fridge where others will see it.

#3. Enlist the help of trusted friends.

Once you tell people what you’re going to achieve, it becomes real. If you’re going to back down or opt out, you’re going need to explain it to someone else which will create a sense of failure. Having someone to hold you accountable, encourage you to keep going and celebrate each achievement along the way will increase the satisfaction of nailing it.

Ask a friend to exercise with you, give you gentle reminders that it’s time to leave work or mind the children when you have a monthly ‘date’ night with your partner. Sharing the goal will also give you the opportunity to better support your friends and strengthen your relationships by paying back the favour.

There you have it – 3 simple ways to achieve your goals that have nothing to do with New Year’s resolutions! Be kind to yourself; take the pressure off; let down your hair, relax and have a wonderful New Year.

Here’s to a happy and successful new year.

Carpe diem
Caroline

 

10 Easy Ways to Make Any New Year a Ripper!

Know where you are and decide where you’re heading.

New Year, New Life ChapterAs this year hurtles at break-neck pace towards its finale, we vow that somehow, 'next year will be better'. But, hang on, is 'better' good enough?  Don't we want it to be the best ever?

Like a fresh, blank page in a book, the New Year marks a brand new chapter in your life. Whether you’re on track to achieve bigger goals or wanting to make smaller changes, these tips will help you set next year up to be a 'ripper'.

1. Learn from the past and move on

If you’ve made a few mistakes this year, don’t worry, we all have! Take time to identify what went wrong, convert your precious life lessons into wisdom and move on. By extracting the lessons from mistakes or failures, you can let whatever was ‘wrong’ about that event go.

2.Take stock of where you are

Step back and give each area of your life an A – F grade. Review what’s working and what isn’t in your relationships, health, wealth/finances, career, home, environment, community, challenge/growth and spirituality/beliefs.

3.Consciously decide what to keep and what will be different

Having mentally reviewed each room in your ‘life house’, decide and make a list of what needs to change. If you do make a change, what will actually be different and how will that be better than what you have today?

4. Create a Next Year Vision

If next year was to be your best, what would you most like to achieve? By this time next year, what will be happening that isn’t happening today. Write down change keywords to decide where you’re going to invest time, energy and effort. Based on where you’re heading, what will it look, sound and feel like and who will be there with you?

5. Decide how you’ll make your vision a reality

This includes setting goals and developing strategies to bring your vision to life. Without these your vision will be based on wishful thinking – unlikely to ever be realised. Make concrete plans and hold yourself accountable for making change happen. Set yourself up for success by surrounding yourself with everything you need to make it happen.

6.  Keep it simple

Unecessary complexity often creates drag on life redesign plans.  Like barnacles on a boat, the more you add, the heavier it gets and the slower progress moves.  Before you know it, your big plans have ground to a halt, bogged down in red tape.  Pack light, only do what's necessary and remove any unecessary clutter.

7. Commit to the plan

Change without commitment is like a car without petrol – there's a limit to how far you'll get without it!  What will it take to commit to the necessary action and stick with it for as long as it takes?  Deciding what to say 'no' to will help create the necessary time and energy to make important life redesign changes happen.

8. Engage your support team

Even Hilary didn't conquer Everest alone.  Behind every great achievement is a strong support team – those people who'll protect your back and cheer you on.  Identify what challenges you're likely to face and who you need to keep you on track.  How can you best help them? Remember, life is karmic – what you put out will come back to you many times over.

9. Celebrate the wins

In the quest to 'get things done', we often forget to celebrate our achievements big and small. Take time to feel the satisfaction of achieving each goal and notice what it was that helped you get there. The ‘high’ of achieving a win will keep you motivated for future success.

10. Embrace the small stuff

The greatest enjoyments in life are often hidden in the small events that happen every day. Unfortunately in today’s fast paced life, we are often too busy to even notice them. If you need ideas, check out 1,000 Awesome Things. Revel in life’s little pleasures and start your own book of Awesomes – you’ll be surprised how quickly you fill it.

How next year shapes up is well within your control. Great and not so great things will happen but that’s not as important as how you respond to them. So, go on, make the most of it, ‘let rip’ and love every moment for what the new year gives you.

Carpe diem

Caroline

 

 

How to Love the Festive Season, no matter what!

A Thrival Kit – your secret weapon against festive season gremlins

Have you ever noticed how quickly the festive season can turn pear-shaped? In spite of meticulous planning, great expectation and fever pitched excitement, it only takes a poorly chosen gift or misplaced, thoughtless comment for ‘peace on earth’ to be shattered! Before you know it the kids are grumpy, the adults have declared war and what you hoped would be a happy family time has disintegrated into bitter arguments that could last a lifetime.

If this is your worst Christmas nightmare, relax – help is at hand. A well-packed Thrival Kit is the secret to sailing through this time of year with your goodwill to all men, sanity and happiness intact.

The Thrival Kit – this year's 'must have' gift

A Thrival Kit is a small but powerful set of tools that are easy to access and use, whenever you need them. Consisting of keys, questions, symbols and pearls, your Thrival Kit is free of charge and light to carry. Once packed with the right tools, it becomes your constant companion through the good and not-so-good times. Whilst being particularly handy for beating holiday season stress, once you’ve packed one, you’ll want it beside you all year round.

The contents of a Thrival Kit are like multi-vitamins. Taken daily, they become new habits and a new way of being that will ensure you thrive, regardless of what’s happening around you. Let’s take a look inside a typical Thrival Kit, see what these tools are and learn how to use them.

Three essential thrival keys:  your purpose, values and inner resources

Your purpose, values and inner resources are the most powerful keys available to you. They provide direction, the ability to prioritise and achieve whatever you set your mind to and heart on. Even better, you already have them! These are already inherently within you, you just may not be aware of them. Consciously accessing these ‘thrival keys’ will unlock previously shut doors, open up new possibilities and ensure you have everything you need to choose how you want things to be.

Whilst your purpose (reason for being here) and values (core principles, standards and ideals) guide your decisions and actions, it’s your inner resources that will help you thrive, regardless of what’s happening at your place this holidays.

Engage your inner resources

Limitless and super powerful, your resources are inner states of being that you can call on at any time, in any situation. Whether you are feeling sad, happy, doubtful or certain, inner resources reside in everyone. Once identified, you’ll soon master the art of recognising which you need in any situation. From here you can effortlessly call on the best inner resources to achieve your desired outcome.

Your inner resources provide instant light when it is dark and energy to take action. They are the power source for your purpose and values. Engaging them means you never need feel disempowered, angry or stressed ever again. Whether you are confronting a challenge, keeping the peace or determined to make the most of a magical moment, there’s a resource for every situation.

The 12 most powerful inner resources to keep close at hand over the festive season include:

  1. Acceptance
  2. Caring
  3. Calm
  4. Caution
  5. Contentment
  6. Flexibility
  7. Fun
  8. Joy
  9. Maturity
  10. Peace
  11. Perspective
  12. Spontaneity

What else can go in a Thrival Kit?

Basically anything that will help you sail through potentially stressful moments and take on new challenges. Thinkg about adding:

  • Powerful questions to help you make the best decision in the heat of the moment – eg How do I want this to be and what can I do to create it?
  • Strength symbols provide a physical stress reducer – these include special items such as a piece of jewellry that create instant calm when you touch them.
  • Pearls of wisdom – a phrase or saying to adopt as a calming mantra (one of my favourites, accompanied by a deep breath, is 'Keep Calm and Carry On').

Be Prepared for Anything

Holidays are a time when family legends are often written! Events good and bad are remembered and recalled by everyone for years. How you choose to be will determine whether you buckle under the pressure and ‘lose it’ or love every moment, regardless of what happens. A well-packed Thrival Kit will ensure you’re armed and ready for anything.

What else will you be packing and pulling out of your Thrival Kit this festive season?

Carpe diem

 

 

P.S.  To find out how to create more empowering tools for your Thrival Kit, grab a copy of The Great Life Redesign – change how you work, live how you dream and make it happen TODAY!  Available here and in all good bookstores.

How to Love Your Job

7 simple ways to love the job you have.

How to love you job

There’s something kind of corny about the concept of loving your job, isn’t there? Besides, we’re often more likely to ‘put up with’ our job – a far cry from loving it! Yes, most of us work to pay the bills but that’s only part of the story.

Research shows many of the upsides of work, besides being paid, include challenge, variety, fulfilment, social connection and validation that your effort makes a positive difference.

Take a moment to rate your job against each of these criteria (Great, Average or Poor). How does it fare?

If you answered ‘Great’ to each of these, congratulations – you’re obviously in the right job and loving it. If your job didn’t rate so high, you may be feeling slightly disheartened.

It’s tempting to think about jumping ship and looking for a new job. However, this isn’t easy and can often take months or even years to achieve.

Fortunately you don’t have to change jobs to find one you love! The following tips show you how to love the job you have and best of all, it costs nothing but a change in mindset and action.

#1: Adopt a positive attitude

Boredom, frustration and stress are insidious and rapidly become self-fulfilling prophecies. Check in on how you’re thinking and what you believe. Turning problems into opportunities and focusing on what’s within your control has an immediate and positive impact on how you feel. Ask yourself, ‘How would I rather feel instead?’ and actively seek ways to create the better alternative.

#2: Connect your job to your purpose and priorities

What were you put on this earth to do and what specific difference do you want to make? Yes, it’s a ‘big’ question but once you have the answer, you can uncover opportunities to fulfil that purpose through your work and other parts of your life. Identify your core values and write down what’s really important to you and change how you work to a align it with what you believe.

#3: Identify your 8 key strengths and use them

Actively using your key strengths every day and in everything you do will shift your focus to doing more of what you like and are good at. For example, if you are a strong leader, create ways to unite people around a common goal. If you have great organisational skills, consciously use them to get things done efficiently. Strengths can be applied to any role, regardless of whether you’re a receptionist or CEO.

#4: Make life easier – understand your preferences

We all have preferred ways of working and behaving and there are many tools available to help you understand your preferences. If you’re not enjoying your job, chances are you’re being compelled to work in a way that doesn’t sit right with you. There are many different tools for discovering your preferences including Myer-Briggs, DiSC, Herrmann Brain and Social Styles.

Once you know your preferences you can flex your style to better suit what’s required and/or enlist the help of your manager and colleagues to work in a way that fits your style.

#5: Change how you work, rather than what you do

Every job has stuff that we’d rather not do, given the choice. However, they are often unavoidable and procrastinating about them won’t make them go away. Once you understand your preferences, you can create challenges in the seemingly most boring of tasks. This could include report writing, administration, handling emails etc.

Consistently set yourself the challenge of completing the task ahead of time, more efficiently and to a higher standard (going beyond what’s expected) and notice the higher level of satisfaction you feel.

#6: Apply judgement carefully

Sound judgement is an essential skill for analysis and decision making but often falls short when applied to our working relationships. Judging people based on your own personal values (They never… or She always…) rarely results in them changing to be more like you and less like them! More often, it leads to frustration.

Replace judgement with acceptance and notice how much easier it is to work with someone who operates differently from you. Parking judgement opens the door to constructively resolve issues that arise from behavioural differences.

#7: Set long term goals and work steadily towards them

Taking a bigger picture view makes it easier to keep things in perspective. Cast your mind forward 5 years – what would you like to be doing, if it were possible? Once you’ve established your professional vision, create a career plan with goals, actions and timelines to realise it. Actively build your knowledge and experience in that area.

Many skills are transferable and you may be surprised what development opportunities your current role holds, that you haven’t yet tapped into.

Applying any of these tips will make a big difference to how you feel about your job. Hold yourself accountable for your own levels of satisfaction; take daily action to experience it and notice how much more you love the job you have.

Do you have a handy strategy that helps you love the job you have, regardless of what you do?  Please share it – your simple tip could make a big difference to someone who’d love to love their job… if only.

Carpe diem